As many New Yorkers likely know, last week 28-year-old political novice Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a political progressive and former organizer for Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign, defeated 10-term incumbent and Queens Democratic Party leader Joseph Crowley in the congressional primary elections in the 14the Congressional district in Queens – and by a large margin, to boot.
In her campaign, she called for fundamental changes to U.S. immigration policy, strongly opposing the Trump program and urged that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, known as “ICE,” which monitors our borders and enforces U.S. immigration law, be abolished. She also championed Medicare and federal jobs for all. Indeed, she proudly touts her affiliation with the Democratic Socialists of America, which tells you something about her vision for this country.
Toppling someone of the stature and power of Joe Crowley is no small thing and since the 14th CD is overwhelmingly Democratic by party affiliation, she is likely to win in the November general elections – although how her Republican opponent handles the aforementioned issues could make a difference. Indeed, a vote for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is plainly a vote for open borders, break-the-bank spending, and massive growth of the federal government.
But the issue that has drawn the most attention in the Jewish community is her condemnation of Israel’s response to the Gaza Palestinian’s self-described “March of Return” in mid-May, which, Hamas has admitted, was a cover for terrorist infiltration into Israel. Referring to the deaths of 60 Palestinians in the episode, she tweeted:
“This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such. No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore.”
It should be noted that the Democratic Socialists of America, with which Ms. Ocasio-Cortez identifies, supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took great pains to downplay the significance of the Ocasio-Cortez victory to the future of the Democratic Party, insisting that, after all, it involved only one district: “They made a choice in one district. So let’s not get…carried away…. It is not to be viewed as something that stands for anything else.”
Maybe. But given the stunning rise of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party in the last presidential campaign, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’ victory at least demonstrates that radicalism is still alive and well there. Unfortunately, it could also be a harbinger of what the Democratic Party will soon officially stand for.